I attended the Arlington town meeting last night in the sweltering gymnasium of the Arlington Memorial High School. It was a solid 2 and half hour affair that covered school budgets, fire hydrants, emergency preparedness, special ballot initiatives, and legislation.
If you’re not familiar with town meetings, they’re a gathering of citizens typically before election day where they essentially have an opportunity to review the town and school board reports in order to grill their elected officials on their budgets, initiatives, past accomplishments, and future plans. This is a time for the tax payers to talk back in an open forum and to have a conversation with their elected officials. It also provides an opportunity for the elected officials to address these concerns, hopefully resolving them once and for all.
For the most part I was very impressed with Arlington’s town meeting. Though the high school tuition is rather high, it’s hard to know where to make cuts since the school has produced great results, earning awards over the past year for academic excellence. The school board did an excellent job answering questions with the one exception of computer costs. Apparently the school board is prepared to spend $1500 per computer for labs that will have close to 175 computers. Many residents jumped all over that, challenging them to consider other options since many computers can be purchased for $800. Continue reading